The garnish always saves the day! (Cauliflower Stew with Cauliflower Three Ways)

I had some of my usual suspects in a Covey Rise share recently: sweet potatoes, cauliflower and green onions. I like to try and do some meatless meals every now and then and was determined to do it one Monday when I was home alone. I went searching, and there was the best Christmas present I have ever received that keeps on giving, New York Times Cooking. I saw this recipe for charred cauliflower stew, read the comments to confirm I could change it to my needs and liking. I decided to buy tarragon for the first time without trying for a substitute.

Well let me tell you, this was really yummy. It was unlike anything I've made before and that was a good thing. I will tell you, the garnish saves this dish for pretty purposes, because the finished product without it looked "pukey" to Kevin when I sent him a photo and I do not disagree with him. The pickled cauliflower, tarragon and cheese come together to just knock this out of the park. The spices on the stew are so warm and comforting and really give it the boost it needs to make you forget there is no meat in here.

So I know this sounds odd, but try it! I promise I never steer you wrong. When I don't like a recipe, I will tell you the truth. If you are not a fan of licorice flavor, leave the tarragon out. The original recipe called for parsnip and regular potatoes, so feel free to use those. Make it yours and embrace the occasional meatless entrĂ©e! It is good for your body and good for the world.  Full recipe to follow the montage.

Cauliflower Stew with Cauliflower Three Ways
Look at that pretty bowl of meatlessness!

Cauliflower Stew with Cauliflower Three Ways
The cast looking delightful.

Cauliflower Stew with Cauliflower Three Ways
Pickling the cauliflower was so easy!

Cauliflower Stew with Cauliflower Three Ways
Chopped veggies are my favorite.

Cauliflower Stew with Cauliflower Three Ways
I should have browned this a bit more, but it was still lovely.

Cauliflower Stew with Cauliflower Three Ways
I wish this was scratch and sniff.  Mmmm.

Cauliflower Stew with Cauliflower Three Ways
My hunk of cauliflower was bigger than I thought.  This took some wrangling!

Cauliflower Stew with Cauliflower Three Ways
This is the photo Kevin called "pukey." It still tastes good!

Cauliflower Stew with Cauliflower Three Ways
The original recipe called for watercress, this was my substitute with what I had.

Cauliflower Stew with Cauliflower Three Ways
A little behind the scenes first bite!

Cauliflower Stew with Cauliflower Three Ways
Pin it for Meatless Monday!

Cauliflower stew with cauliflower three ways (adapted from the New York Times)

1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds each)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
1 cup diced onions (about 1 small onion)
¼ cup minced garlic (about 8 large cloves)
1 ½ tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground mustard
Pinch of cayenne
½ cup peeled and diced carrot (one large one or two smallish ones)
½ cup diced celery (about 2 small stalks)
2 cups peeled and diced sweet potatoes (about 1 pound potatoes)
4 cups vegetable stock or water
Freshly ground black pepper
2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
2 large kale leaves cut into ribbons (optional)
½ cup grated Cheddar cheese
¼ cup minced tarragon

Heat the broiler to high and lightly oil a baking sheet. Take one third of the cauliflower, pull off the leaves, and slice it into big florets,  Place under broiler and  broil until they turn dark brown, about 10 minutes (no need to flip them). Let slices cool, then roughly chop them. 

Take the rest of cauliflower and grate 1/2 cup cauliflower florets into a small bowl. Break off a big chunk (about a quarter of the head) and set it aside, then roughly chop the rest.

Prepare the pickled cauliflower: Mix the grated cauliflower with lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt and let sit until stew is ready to be served.

Put 1/4 cup oil in a large pot, and set it over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add onions, garlic, coriander, mustard and cayenne. Cook, stirring, until onions are almost translucent but haven’t browned, 3 to 4 minutes.

Stir in carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots soften, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the raw chopped cauliflower, the big chunk of cauliflower and the sweet potatoes. Stir a few times, then pour in the stock. Increase heat to medium-high, bring to a simmer and let cook until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 18 minutes.

Remove from heat and transfer that big chunk of now-cooked cauliflower into a blender along with 2 cups of the soup. Make sure you get some potatoes, carrots and celery in there. Blend, but do it carefully, start it on low and slowly increase the speed.

Pour the blended mixture back into your big pot of stew, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in broiled cauliflower. When you’re ready to serve, bring it up to a boil again.

To serve, divide kale leaves between 2 large bowls. Ladle the stew into the bowls and top with cheese, tarragon, green onions and pickled cauliflower.

Happy Cooking!


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